Low-Cost 2 Nights Travel in Oslo, Norway

First off, make sure you check if the Oslo Pass will suit your needs. The idea of getting it is to enter some attractions for “free”, but again, it depends on where you want to go. Personally, I wouldn’t have the need of buying it since I look under 18 years old (children price for me and usually tickets are FREE). FYI the 24-hour pass is 445NOK (46€), 48-hour for 655NOK (68€), and 72-hour for 820NOK (85€), so it is pricey.

To save more money on you, I will definitely suggest you guys buy the Oslo Transport Pass which worths 111NOK (10€) for 24 hours. This card will allow you to use every single transportation in the city, from the bus, tram, boat, and metro around zone 1 and 2 (basically all the main attractions in the city!).

Here we go, here’s a 2-day itinerary for you guys who are very curious about checking out a lot of attractions in a day. On average, I walked (way too much) around 20,000 steps a day, so for those who love long walks, this is just for you.

Short information regarding airport-to-city transport, I took the “Flytoget” bus number F1, F1X, or F2 for 120NOK (11€) one-way (student price), this is way cheaper rather than taking a train to the city.

The drop-down for the first day will be this one;) All the links are all in pink. I really enjoyed the walk so I hope you guys do too!

Take a free walking tour w/(Oslo Free Walking Tour)

It’s always good to have an idea of what’s the best way to explore the city by joining these free tours. I usually gave the tour guide around 5€, ranging from 1-2 hours long tour. As a curious ass girl, knowing the history of the place I am visiting has always been on the list, so it was very interesting for me to know that Norway got its economy boost only since the 60s since they are so rich in oil mining.

Oslo Opera House

Though it was a shortstop, make sure you spend half an hour to reach up to the top part of the opera house since you will have a better look at the city, it’s free to just walk up. But anyway I didn’t do it, but instead, I continued walking to see more what’s around. There’s also this sauna “boxes” just by the opera house where you can book them online and release your muscle stress when you have free time. For anyone who is interested, check them out KOK Floating Sauna (price starts at 1800NOK = 180€ for 2/3 hours).

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The sauna that you have to book online

Oslo City Hall (Rådhuset)

Since I joined the free walking tour, we even had free access to the city hall plus some explanations about the various number of city halls that were used before. They even have several artworks to check out inside. Make sure to be amazed by the paintings on the walls, it’s so beautiful!

Oslo Stock Exchange (Trondheimsveien Oslo)

A very shortstop again. This is where the tour guide really explains the history and the economic boost of Norway. Nothing really special about this place, but make sure to do some research about it if you’re not interested in doing a guided tour.

Christiania Torv 

Another stop for some dose of history, it’s basically telling that Norway has always been seen the little brother of Denmark and the Norwegian king didn’t like the idea. Since then, there’s this monument showing that Norway indeed starts at that point in the city.

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Aker Brygge

This is a literal dock where you can take some boats across the archipelago (the one that I took on day 2 to Havedøya). But here, you can also find a lot of fancy restaurants and bars that I really can’t pay for (you know how cheap traveling feels like). But anyway, a very great view of the city line here.

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National Theatre

Nothing really special, but for those of you who like to explore more landmarks here you go! You can also see two statues in front of the theatre, one of them was an ex-king of Norway.

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Karl Johans Gate

From the city, you should walk around Karl Johans Gate and follow the pathways to get to the Royal Palace. For those who wanna do some shopping, walk east from this road. You will also pass by a park where there will be an ice skating rink during winter time (Spikersuppa Rink), they charge 7€ for a pair of skating shoes and free of charge if you bring your own.

The Storting (Norwegian Parliament)

Another stop by a monument by the walking tour. Again, nothing much. Just for the picture. Unfortunately, guided tours only start by Spring 2020 (every Saturday from 22 Feb-20 Jun), where it starts at 10.00 and 11.30 in English only. No bookings needed and it’s free, so just show yourself up:)

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The Royal Palace

Have you ever wonder how the change of guards is like here in Norway? It ain’t similar to that huge ass amount of guards in London, but make sure to pass by at 13:30 to see the change of guards. It is daily, so don’t worry about the days of the week that you’ll be there for. The whole process will take approximately half an hour, so make sure to get some pictures on how they march and walk!

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Sunset around Aker Brygge

Hope for great weather when you’re in Oslo (especially during winter) as the sun-time is super short and most probably it will be cloudy all day long. You will also see a lot of people with their dogs walking around there. FYI, Norwegians are one of the most outdoor humans in the world, even during bad weather they still go out!

Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art

Damn, I’ve been dreaming to get into another modern art museum and here I am. Ticket price is free for me since I “paid” for the children category. But the adult price will be 130NOK and students for 90NOK, they are open during winter (Jan 2- Apr 30, 2020) daily, generally saying from 12:00-17:00. Don’t be surprised regarding the timing as Scandinavians have fewer working hours during wintertime.

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The collections they have are just crazy, they have paintings and other tangible artworks from the 40s until the ones from 2019. I was just amazed at how these talented artists have this image in their minds centuries ago. That time, they had a temporary exhibition of animal organs, quite disturbing but interesting.

Clench your thirst to a bar (Underbar)

To end up this tiring day, I decided to get a craft beer in a bar nearby. Again, don’t be surprised because of the price. It is amazingly expensive, I had mine (330ml) for 9€, the pale ale was perfect though.

Are you ready to go for your second day? It’s gonna be fun!!

The Viking Ship Museum

After such a long day that I had yesterday, I started at 9 am in the morning to go on the way to this museum. They open from 10:00 – 16:00 up until April 2020. Adult price is 120NOK and students for 90NOK, for me it’s free (under 18) 🙂 It’s definitely a must-go museum, you can see such details and stories about the Vikings back in the days. They have 3 ships on display, The Oseberg, The Gokstad, and The Tune Viking ship. Keep in mind that these ships are from the 9th century, they restored it super well, it took them more than 15 years for The Oseberg ship.

The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History

Save up 1.5 hours for this place and really, don’t go to the exhibitions since it’s not interesting… If you’re interested in Sami culture, do check out the exhibitions though, you can see how they survived from the past centuries and how they make their traditional handmade clothing.

The open-air museum is so unique, so have a walk around it, you’ll find so many traditional Swedish houses, barns, and chapel. Be careful if it’s raining since the road will be muddy🙂

Island Hopping to Hovedøya-Lindøya-Bleikøya (Havedøya Route)

Two museums in a day are just enough, who’s up for island hopping? Since Oslo is an archipelago area, island hopping is a great idea, especially during the summer. I went when it was raining on a cold winter day, not a good idea but it was still crazy amazing.

I went only to the island of Hovedøya to visit the Havedøya Kloster. It is a ruin of 1147 monastery and fortress, I can’t say it’s not preserved that well, but the short walk (10 minutes) to that landmark is very enjoyable, tall trees and smell of the ground, something that you can’t find in the city.

Keep in mind that the boat (B1) from Akker Brygge leaves only every 30 minutes for the cyclic route of Hovedøya-Lindøya-Bleikøya, plan your time well. Check out the skyline before arriving at the dock:)

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The Vigeland Park

Take a break and chill here! It’s completely free and open for 24 hours. This park is located 25 minutes north-west from the city by taking Tram 12 (included in the transportation card too!). Going during daylight is much preferable since you can see clearly all the meaningful sculptures. Made by Gustav Vigeland, his message regarding this artwork is about humans, it’s just so timeless.

Walk around the city

Nothing will beat just strolling around, searching for nothing to experience a city. Close your Google Maps and just get lost and be amazed:)

 

Enjoy your trip! See you soon for another pocket-friendly itinerary to Bergen, Norway.

 

 

Escaping the Crowds to Oaxaca

I was looking for a state where I can see a very dense culture of Mexico. Should I see the north or south? But again, Miriam (my bestie) has been telling me for months that I should come to visit this state.

“Maria, it’s so amazing. You have to visit Oaxaca”, she said.

Again, I decided to travel from Puerto Vallarta to Guadalajara in the beginning to save up more money. By then, I flew to Oaxaca through Guadalajara. Flying with Volaris is actually not that bad, looking at the cheap flight I paid for.

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The Pochote Organic Market

Right after the short flight and my “luggage drop” in the hostel, literally I just growl for food. After asking recommendations from the hostel reception, I decided to come for the great chicken mole they have. They have quite some selection of food there, super nice<3

Downtown Strollin’

Make sure to allocate some time to walk around the downtown and check out how locals are selling some local food. And if you’re lucky there will be some musicians, too! Just a little break from those long walks. Nice enough<3

Museo Textil de Oaxaca

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Museo+Textil+de+Oaxaca/@17.0589275,-96.7243412,17z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x85c72240ab2f6aa1:0x48f8ac0322ca77e5!8m2!3d17.0606751!4d-96.7230172

Belly is happy now:) Next, one of the must-go museum in Oaxaca, honestly the clothing pieces are very unique. Plus, you can also see some other exhibitions on the upper floor.

Centro Cultural San Pablo

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Centro+Cultural+San+Pablo/@17.0589275,-96.7243412,17z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x85c72240a7b1779d:0x43bc1da2cdbdaed!8m2!3d17.0608271!4d-96.723319

Just a short visit here! The buildings are very artistic there; I just love how they put together this place to be a cultural center. Besides, they also have a coffee shop just by the entrance, get your laptop and your book, here:) And look what I found, a dad and his kid walking around this pretty place.

Zócalo Oaxaca

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Z%C3%B3calo+Oaxaca/@17.0602609,-96.7256823,17z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x85c722407fd5b687:0x506383de32c967f8!8m2!3d17.0605258!4d-96.7252924

Shopping? Here’s the place for y’ll. Food? Name it! They have so many places to shop and eat!

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Cathedral+of+Our+Lady+of+the+Assumption/@17.0602609,-96.7256823,17z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0xd0608e6f7a9ea305!8m2!3d17.0615431!4d-96.7250296

Museum of Cultures of Oaxaca, Santo Domingo

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Museum+of+Cultures+of+Oaxaca,+Santo+Domingo/@17.0658464,-96.7253494,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x85c7224ec7ba0447:0xe9d3bacda9641a28!8m2!3d17.0658413!4d-96.7231553

By the time I stepped my white Adidas and glaze the inside inside, I was very calm. This place is so elegant… Unfortunately I went inside just 40 minutes before they close (it was 5.30pm already!), but still getting a glimpse of it. So worth it! It has several floors up and more than 20 show rooms to check out. Plus! The sunset was so amazing that time.

Don’t forget to pass by Church of Santo Domingo de Guzmán after your museum visit! The fretworks are so amazing!!

Museo de la Filatelia Oaxaca

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Museo+de+la+Filatelia+Oaxaca/@17.0660009,-96.7238058,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x85c7223946a1d52b:0x9f447f5fee9b7bb5!8m2!3d17.0659958!4d-96.7216117

“Hmm what else I can see just around the corner?”, I thought.

I clicked on the Google Maps icon on my large-screen phone and I found this museum just a 5 minute walk from where I was before. Hell yeah! Fun fact: I am actually a philatelic (I have dozens of stamp collection books and albums back home).

I am literally amazed. And I found the 3 pieces of penny blacks stamps. Damn!!! It got such an interesting design, they have this kind of slider-design where you can view all their collections based on its category. And you can also learn about some histories here;) AND, FREE ENTRY. Will be even better if you visit this museum in day time, though. You can chill for a bit in their lounge for free coffee😉

See you on the next one!

Searching for Fresh Air in Mascota

Traveling alone in Mexico has been something very controversial for me. The feeling of not being safe sometimes scares me. But today, I just feel like I need my ultimate personal space (as I always do in Japan). I mean, as a women you should always be aware everywhere else in the world. So, I just started this trip in the morning, alone, myself and my red-blue Ben Davis backpack full of my camera kit. Of course, my new Mavic Air from my brother (love you), too.

“I am really going this time”, I said to myself a day before.

After having a little research about how to go there, I finally found the bus stop from Puerto Vallarta, it’s Parada De Camiones ATM Las Glorias;

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Parada+De+Camiones+ATM+Las+Glorias/@20.6348576,-105.2474731,14z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x48289efd411997f!8m2!3d20.6348576!4d-105.2299637

The bus schedule starts at 09:00, 12:30, and so on from Puerto Vallarta direct to Mascota. And going back, it starts at 15:30, 16:30, and 18:00 from Mascota back to Puerto Vallarta. Bus ticket is 165 pesos (around $8), and if you guys have your student card, 20 pesos discount! I waited for a bit and finally I stepped on that red-turquoise bus, sitting on the front seat (like all the time). I was wearing just a sleeveless top and a short jeans, the air started to get very fresh!! Thankfully, I am very tolerant to cold–I’m good! But for you guys out there, bring a jacket!

2 hours passed, I finally reached San Sebastián del Oeste for a toilet stop. One lady sold me a sandwich inside the bus that time, 25 pesos? Of course I’ll get one! Vamos! Another hour to Mascota, not bad (3 hours in total). Here we go now!

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Bus situation

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My 165 pesos bus ticket

  • Autobuses Mascota

This is the bus stop! Make sure you guys don’t miss it, here’s the location.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/AUTOBUSES+MASCOTA/@20.5233538,-104.7889166,17.87z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x8426a68d1413148b:0xb54a0539f93c0f3!8m2!3d20.5245118!4d-104.7890816

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That’s the bus stop

  • Cafe con Leche Deli

“One Americano please”, I asked.

Before starting this long day, coffee stop! The place is soooo nice, they sell cakes too! I wish I had space on my tummy. Highly recommended! The price of the coffee is around 30-40 pesos, not bad!

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Cafe+con+Leche+%26+Deli/@20.5242682,-104.7885327,18z/data=!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0x8426a6934c1e9c07:0x5057dadf8db7cd52!2sMelchor+Ocampo+25,+Col+San+Rafael,+46900+Mascota,+Jal.,+Mexico!3b1!8m2!3d20.5243841!4d-104.7823476!3m4!1s0x8426a68d3512844f:0xfb56be243690d876!8m2!3d20.5236358!4d-104.7886658

 

  • Mercado Mascota

Just a 3- minute walk from the bus stop! You can start your journey with some cute souvenirs in your hand. By the time you enter the building, you can see some restaurants open with a very great atmosphere–very lovely. The sun was shining so bright through the roof, it was a wonderful day. Plus, I am a sucker for artesanal/crafts, another earring for my collection. Just look how cute that thing is!

They also got the outdoor part of it, always try to get things in a cheaper price! Speaking Spanish will help a lot. I bought a silver-coated necklace just for 100 pesos (like $4), that’s nothing!

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The silver stall, this lady is super friendly!

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Mercado+Regional+de+Mascota/@20.5246096,-104.788645,17z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x8426a68d37779bc5:0xbb18c0e48990d97!8m2!3d20.5240664!4d-104.7888099

  • Plaza Municipal

Just like other towns, they have the plaza where they have space to sit and a fountain! There are some government buildings around, though. Well, you can sit there for a bit and enjoy the moment:) Also, stop by Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de los Dolores!

  • Museo Raúl Rodríguez

I start walking randomly to the place where they have more attractions to see and suddenly my eyes got locked to this place. Some people were outside chilling around and it seem to be a very cool museum. I stepped in the building, a dog started to welcome me, how cute! Then, people are actually having a tour here. I just joined them out of nowhere! Well another perk of traveling, knowing new people and learn how to get along with them!

Even, one of them gave us a full bag of soursop ice cream, beyond delicious…. The museum is basically a series of collections from some Mexicans who acted in Hollywood back in the days. Such a surprise that this museum is open just under reservation/touring. It’s private! Again, another surprise, I got along so well with the people from the tour and decided to continue the journey with them.

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https://www.google.com/maps/place/Morelos+44,+Centro,+46900+Mascota,+Jal.,+Mexico/@20.522704,-104.7896115,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x8426a6f2a67b2791:0x41c2ab2e020fcf7d!8m2!3d20.522699!4d-104.7874228

  • Los Yeyos, Dulces y Concervas 

After a five-minute ride with the bus, we finally arrive here. It’s a candy shop where they produce everything from soursop (guanábana in Spanish), all natural. But of course, sugar!! They made so many types of sweets with different taste and shape.

I got so inspired to see people who are still doing something very traditional and homemade. You know that feeling when you know people are still willing to conserve their cultures? Highly appreciated! Not to forget, no preservatives!

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Melchor+Ocampo+25,+Col+San+Rafael,+46900+Mascota,+Jal.,+Mexico/@20.5243891,-104.7845363,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x8426a6934c1e9c07:0x5057dadf8db7cd52!8m2!3d20.5243841!4d-104.7823476

  • Yerbabuena Malecón y Laguna

Unexpectedly, they are planning to go to places that I wanted to visit too. We had a 20-minute ride to another town named La Yerbabuena. We stopped by a lagoon and it’s indeed, pretty and tranquil. We spend a good few minutes there just looking at the calm water just before we started walking through the small alley on the way to the church.

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The lagoon

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Alley-walk to the church

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Yerbabuena+Malecon+y+laguna/@20.5243894,-104.7998571,14z/data=!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0x8426a6934c1e9c07:0x5057dadf8db7cd52!2sMelchor+Ocampo+25,+Col+San+Rafael,+46900+Mascota,+Jal.,+Mexico!3b1!8m2!3d20.5243841!4d-104.7823476!3m4!1s0x0:0x6cef9c385b34ce5a!8m2!3d20.5305561!4d-104.7562963

  • Centro Magnetico

This is the HIGHLIGHT of the trip, people gotta come here. Basically they found this place around 5 years ago, there was something happening to this area (with the sun). Suddenly, they bless this place with a father and made it as a sacred place where people can release all their negative energy and ask for ‘light’ in their life.

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The entrance

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The inside

There are 3 pillars, two turquoise ones and one white ones. To begin with, you have to wear the minimum as you can so that you’re at a purest state of your body and mind. Make sure you open your shoes, socks, accessories, and all your things from your pocket. By the time you feel that you’re clear enough, step up to the stairs and get inside the circular zone. This is where the magnetic field will be the strongest, you will be surrounded with those 3 pillars. The person in charge will ‘bless’ you for a bit and you have to say your name to all those pillars. You will hear different levels of echo, I don’t know how this happened but it’s real.

Next, choose and face front to the pillar that you hear the biggest echo. By that time, just feel all your negative thoughts are going out from your fingertips. I feel sooooo light right after that. Wish for something that you really wanted, and believe on it. Honestly, it was a magical experience for me, I feel very positive right after it.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Morelos+44,+Centro,+46900+Mascota,+Jal.,+Mexico/@20.5227003,-104.78797,19z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x8426a6f2a67b2791:0x41c2ab2e020fcf7d!8m2!3d20.522699!4d-104.7874228

  • Templo Inconcluso de La Preciosa Sangre

Lunch checked, just one more place that I really have to go, the ruins of this church. Me and Tere (the friend that I met in the tour) walked for around 10 minutes from downtown to this place. Basically this ruin was from the 19th century, but the framework was not strong enough to be built as the whole building. So, we were just chilling inside, on the garden!

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The day trip ended at 5 pm, we gotta catch up the sunset because driving in that lightless road will be dangerous by that time. I learned a lot today, I felt that as long as you’re a great person, people will come to you. Never fake your personality, just be the best version of who you are:) See you on the next one!

Tips on what to bring: a jacket, a water bottle, sunscreen.

Enchanted by the Most Amazing, Lisbon

My visit to Lisbon was super short, but most importantly it become my most favourite city in my WHOLE life. I don’t think I can find a way to really explain it. Even by the time I reach the inter-connected bridge (25 de Abril Bridge) to Lisbon. Feels like home… My heart just melt down to the heart of the city. Have you ever felt the same to a place?

Arriving in the golden hour wasn’t an amazing decision, we could’ve enjoyed the sunset in one of the famous spot for sunset in Lisbon. But our drive from Madrid was quite far! Covering over 1200km in just 3 days, damn boy (poke to Diogo–he’s an amazing driver btw). Even though I’m just a co-pilot in the car, I can feel the fatigue on my whole body. BUT, as far as I travel with someone that I really enjoy spending time with, nothing matters (wait for my Faro blog!).

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25 de Abril Bridge

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Águas Livres Aqueduct Bridge while entering the city

Opening the car door on our final destination feels great. I can stretch all my back, legs, and also hip. Plus, feeling the fresh air under my white t-shirt. Well, we deserved a little rest before going to dinner!

Couple hours later, we dressed up to go to a pretty sushi restaurant in Palacio Chiado. I put on my seatbelt, and ready to go! The weather was still cold that time (mid March!). I put on my vintage orange outer wear and laced up my white Adidas shoes. Bam! I opened the window of that car, looking at every corner of the city. Old, friendly, everything was just there. My mind was feeling so calm.

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The vibe in the restaurant

“I feel so weird, how can I fall in love so hard to a place?”, I said.

We waited for a little while because the restaurant was greatly packed with people. But no worries, beer here we start! The chandelier, old paintings on the wall, and the warm vibe of the place is put together super well. Damn, Lisbon. How can you create this places??? It was a great talk with the family. Because of my curiosity, we decided to try one of the best original egg tart of Portugal, Manteigaria.

For you guys who are wondering it’s here;

This spot! https://www.google.com/maps/place/Manteigaria+-+Portuguese+custard+pies+factory/@38.7107598,-9.1462536,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0xd19347fb4271673:0xe8af7b569be2615f!8m2!3d38.7107556!4d-9.1440596

Then, another favourite place of mine is LX Factory, so dreamy!! I promised myself to go visit this place AGAIN. Here’s the link of the location;

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/”/lx+factory+lisbon+-+Google+Search/@38.7035026,-9.248884,12z/data=!4m8!4m7!1m0!1m5!1m1!1s0xd1934af61dedbe5:0x33ebaaaa14f543ac!2m2!1d-9.178844!2d38.7035235

By the time I got here, it was almost sunset, the ray of light and the breeze were crazy beautiful. We went to a book store (Ler Devagar) before heading for dinner. I just can’t stop being amazed, this place suits me so much. All the friendly people, chill weather, and also the feeling that I’ve never had about a place. The bookstore is super well structured, look!

Here’s the Google maps link btw!

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Ler+Devagar/@38.7027621,-9.1784599,15z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x6c018055230f5ef2!8m2!3d38.7027621!4d-9.1784599

The feeling of being amused let me forget about my hunger. But still, it’s dinner time. Can’t let the gastric juice excess in my tummy. And honestly, the pizza was incredibly made. Best pizza of my life, even though pizza is something that I’m not a fan of. And guys, PLEASE try pizza with arugula, it’s beyond!

The amazing pizza place is Amesadolx, Ld. Here’s the Google Maps direction!

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/”/amesadolx+lda+lisboa/@38.7023771,-9.248466,12z/data=!4m8!4m7!1m0!1m5!1m1!1s0xd1934a58a3e6309:0x94c1579ab07cbd00!2m2!1d-9.178426!2d38.702398

See you on the next one!

 

Road Trippin’ to Madrid

I can’t frickin’ wait for this trip. Mid term exams were sort of f*cked (sorry for my language but it is). But at least it’s vacay time! I woke up looking out of my window, the sun was reflecting the yellowish color to the trees. Amazing! My purple Kipling luggage is ready for the 600km trip to Madrid. I put on my Stussy shirt and a black jogger, ready to go!

It was around 12 o’clock in the afternoon, we started our journey to Madrid. Driving somewhere this far is such an intriguing experience, and technically Diogo is driving cause I can’t drive manual car (oops sorry little boy!). I deeply feel that whenever you travel with someone, you will feel a lot closer to them. Sharing small stories and experiences are so much fun. I can’t even stop laughing and smiling when we’re just having small talks in the car.

“Ugh, I’m getting grumpy now… Let’s stop by and eat lunch!”, I said.

I can feel that was the most delicious lunch I’ve ever eaten for couple of weeks in the past. That feeling when you’re super hungry and you can eat everything! We bought a baguette, a pack of salami (my favourite!!) and cheese. The sun was super hot that day, the oil in the salami literally melt on the car’s deck (taste a lot better!). Plus the songs that we were playing, our lunch was amazing!!

We continued our journey, still hundreds of kilometres away. We played a bunch of party songs, also Brazilian songs! We’re feeling it, it’s been the longest time that we haven’t been to a great party. Marbella got nice parties, but what matters is the company that you have! Somehow, FABRIK popped out from Diogo’s mind. We just hope that it’s open that day.

After a 6.5-hour drive, we touched down Madrid. The city is old, my eyes grasped to dark colors now. Finally after 2.5 months here in Spain, I can really feel the #spainvibe because Marbella is super artificial. We parked the car just few blocks away from our Airbnb, took our luggage and followed Google Maps. We’re lost for almost an hour, walked so far until the city centre. Cold, fun, and pissed off at the same time! But we finally made it and we decided to leave to FABRIK on the last train. Thankfully we reached it;)

And surprise! There’s no taxi at all when we reached Humanes, and it’s super cold and windy. We looked at each other and we just laugh (literally). Those breeze just immersed into our clothes, shoot:( Suddenly, I got an idea. Why don’t we just run until we get warm? 2.5km running and jogging was actually super fun. Look!

Entering FABRIK was quite a problem. I didn’t bring my passport, but thankfully they let me in. My very first techno party!!

The sun starts to peek out from the window, we didn’t party that hard. Extremely tired after those long drive from Marbella. The weather was great in the morning! Just look at the carnival that happened just a couple of minutes walk from the apartment, I can smell creativity!!

We didn’t stay for long there because we have plans already.  As we walked through the old streets, we realised that we need to get coffee for a bit. I really can’t live without it. I ordered coffee with cream, taste so unique, but still I prefer regular Americano! We were  just wishing that the sun will come out, but it turns our not. Huftt.

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Those art with caramel

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Churros time just by San Miguel Market

We decided to go on a full walking tour that day. We wanted to feel how the street vibe, plus enjoying the musics by talented musicians just around every corner of a monument. I will never forget the feeling of that, those violin, harp, or even guitar…. We went to Plaza de Mayor, Royal Palace of Madrid, and Temple of Debod.

“I just wanna sit here for a longer time”, I said.

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Unfortunately Temple of Debod was under construction

Even though it’s super cloudy that day, we still had a lot of fun. Doesn’t even matter how bad the weather is, as long as you surround yourself with positivity, everything will be great. I feel super grateful to have the chance to have a road trip like this. Again, don’t forget to be happy! That what matters in life:)

Tulip Wonderland: Keukenhof

It was finally Thursday, 12.30 p.m. which means time to get ready to go to the airport. This Netherlands trip is just out of no where, literally. Just a week and a half before it I called my long lost high school friend, Natasia. Some people mention that we’re quite similar, especially our height is just incomparable. That made me remember of my senior year graduation day though, I was just standing behind her because we’re arranged based on height.

“Hmm, should I just go there? I’m feeling it”, I said.

Deciding on going was not hard at all. I’ve always wanted to visit her, ever since I went away for university in Shanghai, China. I feel so grateful that my parents can send me here to Spain, I got splashed with culture and hospitality of this Mediterranean country. Thanks mom, dad! I digress. Anyways, I booked my ticket and just wait for the week to be done. Gotta skip Friday, for sure!

My luggage is nicely packed and ready to go. The airport is a 45-minute drive from Marbella though, obrigado Diogo! Thankfully I checked in online already, no more lines for me! The 3-hour flight feels so long, can’t even sleep idk why. That’s why I doodled on this tissue paper! Just some some small pictures of my Madrid-Portugal trip.

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Tissue paper and blue pen = art piece LOL.

“Welkom bij Amsterdam” it was written everywhere in Schipol Airport.

Having no single clue what are they talking (damn language barrier) about is not the best, but it’s part of traveling.  Gotta learn and be smarter each day! I can still remember vividly the feeling of meeting her that day, feels great. It was almost dark when I came, so we decided to go back to Den Haag–where she live. Because of the uncontrollable hunger, we stopped by a friet place. As Dutch’s favourite sauce, we took the big fat fries with ‘patatje oorlog’ sauce (mix of peanut satay sauce, mayo, and onions). Never thought the large portion is a huge ass.

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We can’t finish them in the end….

The sun start to rise at around 6.30, I can feel it through the interstice of the window. But the time when we both woke up, it starts to get cloudy. But adventure can be done anytime, right? We went out of the house and we start walking to the station. As Natasia always does, she really want me to try something new (she know me well;)) Here you go, harring with minced union! Amazing!

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Well we don’t look similar now

After the train to Lisse and direct bus, we finally arrive in Keukenhof, hoping that most of the tulips bloomed already. And yes, they are! I got to show you guys this, we just lay down on the grass for the sake of pictures. But no regret, as usual.

Walking through the garden took some time, it is indeed so wide. The tulips varies in different colors and shapes. Not only tulips, we also passed by a water fountain. We sat there for a bit, listening to the water splash soothes me.

Just before the exit, I bought fresh strawberries just because I need snack! They offered me whip cream on top, but gotta be healthy peeps!

After spending couple of hours there, we went back to Amsterdam for another city tour. Wait for the next blog for that;)

From Mountains to Beaches

First of all, thank you so much Marbella for the amazing weather you have. I have been enjoying it so much, but it’s a cold winter they said. Not for me though! After several days walking back and fourth to school and also the supermarket–El Corte Inglés (for you guys living in Marbella for sure you know this place), I just feel that I’m super done with all this long walks. Well, I enjoyed it but then it’s also dangerous. There are no road lights at all when it goes dark, like WHY *double chin face*.

But then coincidently, I met this super cute guy at school. He looks like a high school student, I just cannot (HAHAH!!). We get along together and he really wants to bring me to this place in Istán–a town near Marbella. He drives, which is good! Obrigado, Diogo! I was amazed for the whole ride, the view was stunning! And also note that we went to a curly roads with slopes through the mountain.

This is Diogo

Having a kid driving for me is cool

The Drive

Those curly roads, I’m a little bit dizzy after that!

“Wow, look at that!!”, I said.

It was the only sentence I used during the way. After about 15 minutes, we finally reach the cool spot. Once I opened the car door, the breeze got into my knit sweater. With all those green trees, I can even smell the fresh green leaves there. Feelin’ inspired to be honest. It’s been the longest time having that much space in my life. Japan made me feel small and confined.

I started to span my arms to the blue sky, and let all the negativity banish itself. We sat there for quite a while, looking to the far-mountain talking about life and be inspired. Also, there’s a lake just in front of the mountain. Too good!

Just a day after that, Diogo brought be to Victor’s Beach to have a chill walk in the afternoon. Just a 5-minute ride from school! Hearing the splashing waves and shrieking birds made me feel like home–as you guys know I’m from Indonesia, beach are everywhere! I wish I can bath myself with the salty water, but it’s still too cold. Let’s wait until it gets warmer! I’ll keep you guys posted for that;)

“We should run along this beach other times!”, said Diogo.

We passed through some ports there, along with fancy restaurants and bars. Such a great place to unwind stress… Especially with Marbella’s majestic sunset just above the horizon. We stayed for quite a while, just enjoying a typical Sunday afternoon. Also, it was so funny that we play tickle-each-other just by the coast and I just throw myself to the grey-brown sand. I just can’t stop laughing!!

 

Testing My Bravery to The Highest Volcano in Indonesia, Mt. Kerinci

The weather was great that day. I landed in Minangkabau Airport which is located in Padang, West Sumatra. And thankfully all (me and my friends) of our baggages were safe and sound. Like any other road trips, I spent my whole day in the car to go to Kersik Tuo (it’s the last village before hiking Mt. Kerinci. 7 and a half hours passed, I had a lot of fun chatting with my long lost friend (it’s been a year though), Prema.

Arriving at that homestay was very joyful ‘cause I’m extremely hungry (food please!). And guess what? They got the most delicious foods ever. I ate a lot of spicy foods like fried mackerels, fried eggplants, plus fried crackers. Well, after dinner we should repack our hiking gears and all the stuffs we wanted to bring tomorrow. One day was completely over.

I woke up at 5 in the morning, not feeling that fresh. I went out of room, the weather was awesome. The wind breezed softly, the sunshine started to come out, I loved it. Our carriers were all inside the bus now. So it’s time to stretch that body before the long and challenging hike.

“Okay students, we’re now leaving to Pintu Rimba (Kerinci’s entrance gate)” said Mr. Jemy.

We finally arrived at Pintu Rimba after 15 minutes drive, I can still picture the tea plantations along the way to get there. It was breathtaking. Here’s a photo of me and my friends before the hike– we looked so excited.

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Look at our happy faces!

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Walking to Pintu Rimba

The tough hike then start. We prayed. We believed in ourselves. We were split into some groups though, creating gaps between them because we got different level of speed. Along the way, we usually shouted a code “woo”–like a wolf to make sure the groups behind us are following the same way as the leading group. Oh, that “woo” signal echoes in the forest.

We spent 45 minutes to reach station 1, 45 minutes to station 2, 1.5 hours to station 3, 2 hours to shelter 1, 4 hours to shelter 2, and 1.2 hours to shelter 3. The tracks were getting harder and harder since shelter 1. The worst part was the hike between shelter 2 to shelter 3. It was frinkin’ steep and slippery. Some of the tracks were more than 1 meter high that I should pull my body up with my walking stick (plus my hand).

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Arriving at Shelter 3 with a big smile

Sleeping in my not-so-thick sleeping bag was comfortable enough. It was 3.30 a.m the first time I woke up. This part is always the hardest point when hiking a mountain, the summit attack. We need to be full of energy in the early morning. I opened my tent zipper, the cold wind started to enter in. I put on my damp Columbia shoes on and lift up my body. I think the temperature was about 7-10℃ that time.

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Tents with sprinkle of stars

I chose to hike with the first group which were all boys because I wanted to spend more time on the summit. The hike was really tough, the track in the beginning were moldy and slippery. Thankfully, I don’t slip at all. Phew!

“Hey! Beware guys, the route here is very narrow”, said David.

It was extremely narrow to be honest, I can only fit in both of my feet horizontally. Walking between gorges was quite scary. Just imagine what will happen if the rocks and ground chip or something. But anyway, we finally made it through the summit. We were so happy and full of joy that day. Reaching a 3805 AMSL volcano was a thing, really. I’m so proud for every one in this trip.

The peak time for staying on the summit is coming to an end. The sulfur smoke started to blow up. We decided to hike back to our camp. It was so bright when we hike down. I can’t even imagine how can I hike this type of track, rocky and steep. I mean, just look! During the hike back, I got lost on the track that I had to climbed up (again) and move to the right route. It was really terrifying to be honest.

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The rocks are loose, dangerous to walk on

Some of the times, the fog came that we can’t really see who’s in front of us. It took 2 and a half hours to go back to our camp in Shelter 3. Right after brunch, we hiked to Pintu Rimba for 6 and a half hours, right before the sun sets.

Dazzling Stars in Kelimutu

Road trip is fun, but waiting for the next destination is the struggle. I spent 7-9 hours in average when I move from a city to another. That time, I travelled from Bajawa to Kelimutu. It took 5 hours that time, not that bad. I spent that whole 5 hours sleeping, playing cards, chatting about random stuffs, and of course enjoying every view outside. I peeked out the window sometimes, to just take a deep breathe and enjoy the most beautiful view. I gotta see the wide blue ocean and the bushy forest along the way.

At dinner time, I finally arrived in Kelimutu. Me and my friends had our dinner just beside a valley, I saw thousands and millions of stars. Crazy beautiful. Right after dinner, we went to a motel to stay overnight. The room was quite spacious to fit in 8 people inside. After taking turns to take a bath, we finally had our free time. For me, it’s time to do a photo hunt. I went scouting with 2 other photographer pals and we found a perfect spot to capture the milky way and the stars. It was a flat rooftop with trees surrounding it.

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The milky way

T’was my first time capturing a milky way. My friend, Albert taught me a lot of photography tips, including how to find the right spot where a milky way should be located. So much fun! In spite taking pictures, I enjoyed my bonding time too. Weird, horror, even embarrassing stories were our topics.

Waking up in the morning was kinda hard.

Well, it was due to my sleep cycle. I only slept for 3 hours, I guess? My bad. But that day, we planned to go to Kelimutu Lake. I’ve been reading and searching for it for weeks before this trip. I’ve always wanted to visit this lake.

I woke up at 4 .30 in the early morning. I can still see the ravishing stars with different colors and sizes. Soon after I changed to more decent clothes, I got to leave the motel to Kelimutu National Park. Fortunately, it was a short drive. Prior notice, we had to trek another 30 minutes to reach the lake. My hope for the track was as smooth as the reality. The track was really easy, stairs have been made and all the routes were covered in asphalt–like literally everyone are able to reach this place.

Dark blue sky with a light blue beam on it. It was all I can see back then. Color palettes still can’t be projected. Couple minutes later, a golden glimpse peeked out from the white-gray clouds, just beside the highlands. I saw two different colors of the lake, dark blue and light blue (there were 3 lakes!). My tour guide mentioned that in some point of the year, one of the lake would possibly turn into red color because there should be a different activity of the algae. So unique, right? The breezy wind made me feel very serene.

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Kelimutu Lake couple minutes before sunrise

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Kelimutu Lake after the sunrise

Time by time, all object were sprawled basking under the morning sun. I can now see the green plants and the magenta flowers. After the sunrise, I can read all the information board, and I learned that the magenta flower (Rhododendron renschianum Sleum) is an endemic species of Kelimutu National Park. Additionally, I was told that Kelimutu Lake should have 3 different colors which are blue, red, and white. There are beliefs that the blue-colored lake is a gathering place for youths who have died, the red-colored lake is for bad people who have died, and the white-colored lake is for oldster who have died. This 1.051.000 meter square lake is indeed very unique.

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The trumpet-like flower

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Me and the magenta flower (Rhododendron renschianum Sleum)

The observation area wasn’t too big, I can literally get over it in couple minutes. As projected above, there were 2 lakes standing side by side. The other lake was actually on the other side. The other amazing thing was we gotta cook our own breakfast on the observation area. So much fun! We cooked beans and also instant noodle (Indomie of course!).

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Ravelto (left) and Gian (behind) were preparing breakfast

Breakfast time was over, we took our last minute group picture with the Kelimutu Lake as a background. Thereafter, we went back to our bus to visit a cultural village which belong to Lio tribe.

And yes, this trip was coming to an over. I will never ever forget every detail of this journey. Along this trip, we formed a very strong friendship and we felt like a family.